Pins with spherical heads, 15th–13th century b.c.; Hittite Empire period
Gold; 5 1/2 in. (13 cm)
Gift of Norbert Schimmel Trust, 1989 (1989.281.14)
The gold heads of these pins are modeled after a poppy capsule. Their rosette tops and fluted globes contain loose objects meant to rattle like seeds when shaken. A separately made thin wire collar masks the join where the solid pin was inserted into the sphere. As the actual poppy produces abundant seeds from its seed capsule it may have come to symbolize fertility. It is also probable that the juice found in the outer layers of the unripe capsule of the opium poppy was exploited for pain relief and to induce sleep.